Archive for April, 2009
Drums. Percussion. Rhythm. These make up the base of the organization of sounds known as music. When I was in high school band, there was something special about being a part of drum corps. When we played parades, the rest of the band would shut the hell up every couple of pieces, and let us percussionists show off the precision of rhythm. On Ensemble delivers that mysterious, hypnotic attraction to beats with the release Ume In The Middle. Melding together traditional Japanese Taiko music with modern electro and jazz, the CD delivers delectable beats and blips with a dash of drone.
The album opens up with the first two tracks “Yamasong” and “Hisashi,” keeping it nice and slow with droney chants and traditional-sounding flute. I was fooled into thinking that the rest of the CD would be the same, but I was treated to breakbeat paired with chopped-up samples in track 4 “Hiroya vs. Miniboss,” electro blips and beeps in track 7 “Silverback,” and downtempo instrumental goodness in track 9 “Yamasong (Remix).”
Rhythm transcends stylistic differences and is present in almost all forms of music; therefore, it’s nice to see On Ensemble proving this point with the ability to skip through different types of genres (and varying complexity in the rhythms). For example, track 7 “Silverback” sounds like material by WARP’s Plaid (if they had access to some really cool drums, of course) with the ensemble’s appreciation for IDM, and track 3 “Waiting” included plenty of sunny vocals and bright chords. Track 8 “Bounce Back” is something for drum corps members to appreciate. Combined with a splash of flute, the percussion shows off how On Ensemble plays as one with the precision that all percussionists strive for.
Ume In The Middle is slated to be release May 5, 2009, so keep your eyes open!
Forget what you think you know about electronic music and enjoy something different and refreshing yet freakishly familiar. The Dino Soars offers laid back hip hop beats alongside some sugary dance tracks inspired by the hot days of disco where music wasn’t held back by genres or being typecast as ‘electronic’ ‘indie’ and therefore limited to a esoteric musical audience. For Stegosaurus Rex, every listener is equal and he offers audible appetizers in this, his first of many albums to come. Instead of releasing 4 individual EP albums, this mega CD compiles and mixes them all into something almost random at times, with wild mood swings and gentle downtime.
Listen closely to his single on the album, track #13 “Nowhere To Run” and you may notice similarities to Ladytron’s “Seventeen”, but scarier still is its connection to Crystal Castles and their track “Crimewave“. While the self-titled Crystal Castles album was released one month earlier than The Dino Soars, the single “Nowhere to Run” had been out 2 years earlier as a single. Whether or not they took any influence from the track is inconsequential in the end because the two bands are obviously contemporaries with roots following back to Ladytron, Miss Kitten, and likely Kraftwerk. When asked of the similarities between the tracks however, Steg Rex comments, “I didn’t know who Crystal Castles was 2 years ago when they friended me on Myspace, after I had released the Nowhere To Run Single.” So it is possible that Stegosaurus Rex inspires bands like Crystal Castles. Either way, each band shoots off into different directions as Rex moves into the French inspired disco house realm with amazing cuts like “Fleeting Disco Do” and “Polar”. One of my personal favorites is “Mike Myers”, inspired by Michael Myers Halloween series, its IDM leanings have me respecting Steg Rex’s wide array of musical taste. Check out the video for Nowhere to Run on Youtube.